Pastor Bo: Some things in life you should never shortchange

Insane. That is the most accurate and succinct way I can describe my schedule, especially as I look at my calendar for the year. In addition to being a very full-time pastor, I am scheduled to preach evangelistic meetings this year in Florida, New Mexico, Michigan, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Add to that my early morning high school Bible class Monday through Thursday, and preaching and teaching and visiting and serving keep me pretty busy.

I also teach our adult Sunday School class at church and am usually the plumber, electrician, framer, book re-binder, carpet layer and overall handyman. And then there is this weekly column, plus the many books that I write and publish. At home, I am the guy renovating the house we live in, plus fixing buildings and barn. And gardening; I love gardening.

But I rather suspect that many of you, while your list is different than mine, are just about as busy; life tends to get that way. And that very busyness of life, as well as the ever changing nature of life, seems to have been part of the motivation for what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3.

I dare you to even try not having music running through your mind as you read these words.

"Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

I was musing over this matter of time in light of how busy we all get. And it occurred to me that, if there is a time to every purpose under heaven, then it is up to us to make sure that we do not allow the busyness of work and service to completely rob us of the other things that matter. And believe me, there is more to life than just work and service.

Without even really formalizing it all in my mind, many years ago I determined that there would be some things that I did not shortchange in life. I recommend those things to everyone, including preachers. They are as follows.

› The relationship with your spouse is not to be shortchanged. In the very beginning, even before the fall, God gave man work to do in the last half of Genesis 1:28. But before that, in the first half of the same verse, he gave man a relationship with his wife and all of the pleasure that comes with it. In Ephesians 5, God made it clear that the husband and wife relationship was his masterpiece painting, a picture of his love for the church. So that relationship, above anything else on Earth, must have time and effort invested in it. Simply put, praying and worshiping are not the only aspects of spirituality; dating and loving your mate is part of spirituality as well.

› Children are not to be shortchanged in our time management either. A man or woman who has lived a life of perfect service to God and yet took no time to cultivate a real relationship with their own children that makes those children love and respect both their parents and the God they serve has failed. When my children were little, I would be at the desk at church working, and they would rush in at random times and say, "Dad! Come throw the ball with us!" I would pound the desk in mock anger and say, "Do you think I have time to play with you?" They would giggle and say, "Yep!" And I would say, "Well, you're right!" And we would go out and play for a while. And now that they are fine young adults who still talk to us about everything, all of that is paying wonderful dividends.

› Fitness is not to be shortchanged. I am an unapologetic gym rat — and my family has largely followed me into this. I do not leave the bedroom in the morning before a 10- to 15-minute workout, and rarely a day goes by without at least an hour in the gym later. This, by the way, actually improves the efficiency of a day and of life in general. I am able to move quickly and strongly throughout the day, and the grand total of seconds that I have spent in a doctor's office over the last several years is zero.

› Continued learning is not to be shortchanged. If you have stopped learning, you have mostly stopped living. My current effort is on learning Spanish, and I do a lesson or two every day in that pursuit. I also do not let a day go by without reading some book other than and along with my Bible. God put a brain at the top of your spine; this tells us that a strong back is not much good without a utilized mind.

And now a bunch of small things in closing. Be sure to also try new fruits and vegetables, eat at restaurants you have never been to, go hiking on new trails, listen to masterfully done music, browse art galleries, sit in a sauna, go on a cruise, take silly pictures of yourself, go hunting for rocks and minerals and play in the snow.

Don't miss any of your "to everything" seasons.

Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at Email him at

  photo  Pastor Bo Wagner

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